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Helsinki’s Hot Heart

CRA's concept to decarbonize the city's district heating system is one of the winning designs at the Helsinki Energy Challenge.

CRA at Manifesta 14

CRA will participate in cultural biennale Manifesta researching and developing an urban vision for Prishtina, Kosovo.




Designers and engineers from Carlo Ratti Associati, working together with international Italian lighting company Artemide, have developed FREE PIXEL – a new system to control light, dot by dot. The project explores a future where LED emitters can work as single, liberated units. Fueled by a unique power-supplying magnetic support, they can be moved by humans or by a robotic arm – developed by ABB – to create infinite patterns with light.


“In darker times, we lived by the sun. Life followed the daily rhythms of day and night, only rarely punctuated by the glow of a tenuous candle flame,” says Carlo Ratti. “Today, LEDs are liberating light. Emitters are tiny, low consumption and digitally controlled – most importantly, they are unmoored. Rather than nodes clinging to a rigid infrastructure, LEDs can act as their own dynamic and living ecosystem, independent and mobile.”


Beyond the familiar on/off of incandescent lights, the Free Pixel can be delicately controlled by digital systems, modulating intensity, position and color. Old discontinuities are replaced by infinite gradients in space and time, a dynamic cloud of light. In the future, we can dream of three-dimensional displays, atomized and diffused into the air. “We are going from illumination to information,” adds Damiano Gui, interaction designer at CRA.